Live-in-the-studio audiophile recordings aren’t a guaranteed success. Sometimes those meticulously documented performances with perfect microphone placement lack one essential thing: that sense of being in the moment that musicians lose when they know that if they don’t get it right their flaws will be revealed in the same vivid detail as the rest of the recording. Fortunately on Exactly Like This blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Doug MacLeod seems as animated and inspired as he would be if he were playing to a live audience. You especially notice this on “Ain’t It Rough” and “Seriously Doin’ Woman,” where his storytelling before and between verses convincingly gives the impression of a concert performance. And it doesn’t hurt that the sound is amazingly lifelike on this 24-bit HDCD release engineered by “Prof.” Johnson that effectively captures the timbre of five different National Resonator guitars and (on some cuts) pianist Mike Thompson, bassist Denny Croy, and drummer Jimi Bott; a showcase for Bott, the instrumental “Ridge Runner” is both a musical and sonic highlight. It’s not all fun and games either, as the more pared-down performances bring out MacLeod’s plaintive side (“Find Your Right Mind,” “New Morning Road,” “Heaven’s The Only Place”).